Our founder and director Lee Hellen knows a thing or two about surveying, having clocked up over 25 years in the industry. In this interview, Lee explains some of the basics about surveying and the role it plays in society at large. He goes on to dispel some common misconceptions about the specialty, demonstrating that surveying will continue to have a critical role to play well into the future.
What is your background in surveying?
I started my understanding of surveying in grade 10. I did work experience with a surveyor, which I did because I thought surveying was very interesting. It’s an outdoors indoors outdoors job, and I thought I could travel to different places and see different things. So I followed through from work experience, I ended up going to university. I studied surveying for four years at university and finished in 1995. And since then, I’ve been 25 years, in constant employment, being a supplier different parts of Australia, all over the world. So it was a very good decision.
Is surveying about more than just taking measurements?
Nowadays with modern technology, anyone could make a measurement. Surveying is the deep understanding of what those measurements are and what they’re good for, and how they’ve been acquired. And that’s very important for critical decision making. People have to be able to have trust in the measurements that you make. And that’s where surveyors come to the fore. So surveyors aren’t engineers. Quite often they’re confused with engineers. Surveyors have their own unique knowledge, which is around a deep understanding of measurement and how people can use those measurements to make critical and informed decisions.
How important are surveyors in modern society?
Surveys play a fundamental role in the economy or the economic cycle of any country. Surveying is used quite broadly through things from creating infrastructure to building roads, maintaining ports, railways, power lines, all these critical things rely on the trusted information that surveyors provide.
How does evolving technology affect the job of a modern surveyor?
Surveyors use on a daily basis now. scanners, drones, robots, sensors to help efficiently capture accurate and timely information. So in the future, technology will continue to play a really important part of surveying and geospatial science. It allows us to deliver more timely, and accurate outcomes for the community, which then allows the community to make better and more informed decisions.
With technology getting so powerful, is there a chance surveyors will become obsolete?
Technology is a very powerful way of all automating or simplifying repetitive tasks. The interpretation of the information that technology provides is still a critical area for surveyors in the future. Having a deep understanding of that measurement science is absolutely fundamental in interpreting the results we get from our technology.
What would you say to someone considering surveying as a career?
Don’t be afraid to give it a go. Be patient and look for someone early in your career that can support you and inspire you. To learn and achieve greater things, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve.
If you’re keen to find out more about the discipline of surveying and how to get started, get in touch. Lee is available for speaking engagements to discuss his passion for the specialty, its exciting and technology-enabled future, and the ethics and integrity of data management.